Swindon helped to bounce back thanks to £19.5m for town centre regeneration projects
Swindon has succeeded in its bid for a share of the Government’s Towns’ Fund. If you’ve been following Swindon’s Historic England Heritage Action Zone activities you’ll understand how big a deal this is.
The majority of this money will go to HAZ projects:
1. £5.5m for the next phase of the Carriage Works
2. £5m for the Health Hydro on Milton Road
3. £3m HAZ Streets & Spaces – improvements to Station Road and the Bristol St and Sheppard St tunnels.
The great thing about this funding coming Swindon’s way is that it can’t fail to accelerate and maximise the HAZ objectives of revitalising the Railway Village.
The town enjoyed selection from one of 101 places that put forward submission. It’s now official that Swindon has secured funding for six projects as follows:
- Health Hydro refurbishments: embedding community and leisure uses in the heart of the Railway Village
- Redevelopment of units of the Carriage Works. This includes completing Phase 3 of our rejuvenation of the former Carriage Works. Then redeveloping three units as well as part of the building fronting onto London Street.
- Install Create Studios at the Carriage Works. This involves fitting out the new space to support Swindon’s digital economy and upskilling residents.
- Brunel Centre Market. Introducing new town centre uses, complementing the High Street and bringing a new experience.
- Heritage Action Zone Streets and Spaces. This includes public realm and improvements to walking and cycling routes. This is vital to tie together Swindon’s heritage-led regeneration projects and connect the Designer Outlet and North Star to the town centre. This in particular is crucial. As it is, the Railway Village and the GWR Workers’ tunnel are all but cut off from the town centre. To get from the RV to the Health Hydro you either dodge traffic or you have to do a 3-point zig-zaggy road crossing manoeuvre. It’s fragmented and it isolates the RV & the GWR Park from the town.
- Kimmerfields Enabling Infrastructure. Delivering enabling infrastructure to make land ready for new homes and offices on the next phase of Kimmerfields. That’s next to Zurich’s new flagship building.
Pulling it together
The Independent Swindon Town Deal Board will now pull together online business cases for the funded projects.
Many people in Swindon have rightful concerns about what will happen to The Oasis. I do hope that SBC will not see this as an either/or sort of thing. What we don’t want to see is a ‘we’ve saved the Health Hydro, it’s iconic, what more do you want?’ dialogue happening.
Milton Road Baths ARE absolutely of the utmost importance. They’re value is immeasurable both for the building itself and what took place there. The Medical Fund Society and its influence on the NHS are embedded in every brick and every Victorian glazed tile. Not to the mention the the Turkish baths there being the oldest extant Victorian Turkish Baths in the WORLD.
But let’s be clear. The Oasis is also iconic – for very different reasons for sure. But iconic and important it absolutely is. And besides that, it’s the only fully-accessible leisure facility the town has. We live in an age of equality and accessibility – thank goodness – so no-one can ignore that fact.